Raise your hand if you love waiting.
I’ll wait. Anyone? Go ahead. Don’t be shy.
Tom Petty was right when he wrote his famous song, The Waiting. If you haven’t heard it, check out the video. The chorus that begins with the line, the waiting is the hardest part, has become sort of an anthem for much of my life.
I truly hate the waiting.
Full disclosure- I have been historically bad at it. I am an are we there yet kind of person. I listen to podcasts at 1.5 speed type of person. (That drives Amy CRAZY!) I am always checking out the sneak peak. On more than one occasion, I have been the person at the garage sale that is sneaking under the garage as it goes up to open the sale. I am like Veruca Salt in Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, I don’t care how, I want it now! You get the picture!
In college, I HATED waiting for grades to be posted, on a piece of paper, outside of the professor’s office. Anyone with me? The waiting IS the hardest part.
So I guess it is ironic that I am a dentist, speaker, content creator, author, and coach. Because my life is all about waiting- I give a treatment plan, a pitch, a proposal, talk with a publisher, or put content out there…
And then I wait.
I don’t know about you, but I needed to learn how to wait well. Or at least wait better. And, after much research and experimentation on how to try to make waiting suck less, I have learned this…
There are two types of waiting. Active waiting and passive waiting. Passive waiting is my default. And maybe this will resonate with you. In passive waiting, I do nothing. And in doing nothing, I get cynical. I get skeptical. Become more self-focused. I get nothing done other than escaping and just sort of loitering in my waiting.
It is easy to see that no one wins in passive waiting.
I don’t know if that rings true to you…
But it was my default.
Contrast that with active waiting. Active waiting understands that there is waiting time. It is going to happen. But we don’t have to just let it happen to us. It asks questions such as- how can I get better in the waiting? What habits can I cultivate to help me endure this time in a more positive and constructive fashion? It asks good questions like what can I be learning as I wait?
And as we wait in our lives- for a call back, for a grade to be posted, for an answer to an interview, for test results and a diagnosis- how can we do it in a way that we get 1% better in the process?
I don’t know about you, but if I just sit around and wait, my brain does not go to any good place! What if next time you are waiting, you did one of these instead?
- Call a friend
- Send a text to someone to let them know you are thinking about them
- Move! Go for a walk around the block. Go for a run. How about a bike ride? Some Yoga?
- Journal about the waiting- then you will have it to reflect on next time around
- Just pause and breathe. Really focus on your breathing.
- Put a puzzle together
- Plan your next getaway- make sure you have something to look forward to on the calendar
- Listen to music. Maybe make a new playlist
- Go for a drive
- Just observe the world around you and notice things you haven’t seen before
There will always be things we wait for.
I am learning that even when the waiting leads to a no, oftentimes the reality is that the no is really a not yet. And even if it is a no, that doesn’t mean we quit preparing for the next yes. I was frozen after the first several no’s. Eventually becoming somewhat paralyzed and doubting myself and my value. But as I stepped back, slowed my mind down, and remembered the truth- I knew my value. And I knew that in time I would start to get more yeses. And did I want to be pouting or prepared when those yeses started coming in?
So while I wait… and currently I am waiting on three potential projects… I will continue to get better. I will continue to cultivate good habits. Continue to sit in quiet and see what I might be able to learn in the waiting. Keep creating content. Keep blogging. I will keep putting myself out there.
And how about you? How will you wait? Will everything else around you be forced to freeze as you wait? Or will you continue to show up, learn, and be present in the waiting?
Some waiting will end how we want it to…
And some will not. Will we wait actively or passively? How we wait will say a lot about how prepared we are for the yes when it comes. Active waiting is an amazing way to #WINtheNOW!
If you want to keep reading, check out this blog I wrote about change.